Startup Sabotage: Uber Employees Allegedly Submitted 5,560 Fake Lyft Ride Requests

The fight for car app dominance is even dirtier than we knew.

Hard times (Photo via Wikipedia)
Hard times (Photo via Wikipedia)

We call it a war, but the numbers show that Uber has been dominating Lyft in the on-demand car service market.  Now, new numbers reveal that Uber may have used some questionable tactics to ensure their place on top.

According to new data, 177 Uber employees have allegedly requested and cancelled a total of 5,560 Lyft rides since last October, according to CNN Money.

“It’s unfortunate for affected community members that they have used these tactics, as it wastes a driver’s time and impacts the next passenger waiting for that driver,” Erin Simpson, Director of Communications at Lyft, told Betabeat.

Lyft cross-referenced phone numbers associated with known Uber recruiters and found that some created multiple Lyft accounts and ordered hundreds —  more than a thousand, in some cases — of fake rides each.

One Uber recruiter used 14 different accounts to request and cancel 680 Lyft rides. Another, who was identified as an Uber recruiter by seven different Lyft drivers, cancelled 300 rides in only a 14-day period. The same recruiter is believed to be connected to 21 other accounts that all together are responsible for the cancellation of 1,524 rides.

With the usage of multiple accounts, it’s clear that some were trying to conceal their identities. Another recruiter  — responsible for 102 cancellations — is said to have even used a different name in the car than he used on his account.

A number of Lyft drivers have even complained that some Uber recruiters don’t cancel, but instead take short, low-profit rides to lure them to switch to Uber.

The aforementioned tactics can surely be seen as sabotage. Drivers waste time and money driving to pick up passengers who cancel. It hurts the drivers profits and availability, which, in turn, hurts the company’s overall ability to operate.

Questions remain, but CNN Money reported that, “there was nothing to suggest that Uber’s corporate office commissioned the canceled rides or even that they were aware of them.”

An Uber spokesperson told Betabeat that ” the claims are patently false,” adding the following:

“Both riders and drivers help recruit new drivers to the Uber platform, where the economic opportunity is unmatched in the industry. We recently ran a program where thousands of riders recruited drivers from other platforms, earning hundreds of dollars in Uber credits for each driver who tries Uber. Even Lyft drivers have participated in a successful campaign recruiting thousands of other Lyft drivers to Uber, where drivers make a better living than on any other platform.Taking the ride and meeting the driver is essential to successful recruitment.”
Startup Sabotage: Uber Employees Allegedly Submitted 5,560 Fake Lyft Ride Requests